Friday, August 1, 2008

Camp Update

Camp has been great! I've learned a lot about working with people and especially the importance of communication. I am the counselor for the 14 year-old girls, and surprisingly there hasn't been that much drama. I have the sweetest girls and I've loved spending the summer with them. My new obsessions are water skiing and David's sunflower seeds. I have two weeks left and then I'll be in New Jersey for Janelle's wedding and then back to Utah.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Donuts Don't Count

I was eating greasy Chinese takeout yesterday with some friends while watching a Jackie Chan flick from the 80's. I commented on how unhealthy the food was and how I wouldn't touch the fried stuff with a ten-foot pole. Some healthy vs. unhealthy comments on the food were exchanged, and then a guy said the funniest thing I've heard in a while:

"I heard that if you eat every few hours it's better for you than eating just three meals a day." (Yes, that is true, I thought to myself). "So today I bought a pack of donuts and I've been eating them throughout the day to keep my metabolism up."

HAHA! This should be in a comic strip; maybe I will write one. Eating donuts all at once or every few hours is countering any good eating habits. Donuts are probably one of the worst (yet still delicious) foods for you, period. Just thought I'd clear up the confusion.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vegas Vacation

I got back from a three-day trip to Vegas last night. Right now you are probably thinking "What can you do in Vegas if you don't gamble, go to clubs, drink, etc.?" But it was a really great time. I drove down with a couple friends and we just chilled. Lots of pool time, lots of shopping, lots of relaxing. To me, Vegas is so funny. It's a random development based upon card games and showgirls in the middle of the desert that people travel to from around the world. I met these tourists from Iran at the gas station, and Vegas was on their list of things to do along with seeing the Grand Canyon and San Francisco. The shopping is pretty top notch, but I wouldn't say that Vegas is a "must see" if I didn't live close by. The development is still going crazy down there. They are building these huge high-rises of condos on the strip that looks like something out of Bladerunner. Vegas is such a wake-up call. I forget how worldly (and obese) most people in our country are. I'm materialistic alright, but Vegas just seems to bring out the worst of it in people.

The funniest thing to me was the M&M's store. I really like M&M's, so I went just to see the wall of M&M's. But people were just going crazy in there buying shirts, mugs, stickers, magnets, etc. And I'm sure their houses really need more junk and knick-knacks. Only in Vegas would a store like that survive.

Sorry there are no pictures. I accidentally put my digital camera in the washing machine as mentioned in a previous post. Hopefully I will get a new one before the summer ends.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I Forgot the Prophet's Milk

I must say I had a pretty good week. I hit some balls on the driving range in preparation for my first game of 9 holes next week, and I actually got a few into the air. I know some people who love golf so much they would choose it over skiing/snowboarding. If I had to choose between golf and skiing, I think I would choose skiing. Golf is chill, but skiing is thrilling. We'll see though; maybe a golf addiction is in my future.

The coolest part of the week hands-down was serving President Monson. He is such a stud. When I started pouring him sparkling apple juice, he gave me this look that said, "Don't you know I like to drink ice-cold 2% milk with my lunch?" I quickly ran (literally) to grab the milk and he said (out loud this time), "Thank you." Cool story, huh? Pres. Eyring and Pres. Uchtdorf were also at the function. The people at the Prophet's table were talking about David Archuleta and American Idol all through lunch, but Pres. Monson didn't really participate in the conversation. I think he was enjoying not having to speak for once. He was very quiet and it seemed like he was in a serious mood.

Some of the servers were very star-struck from all the General Authorities in their presence. I think it's awesome when I get to serve the big wigs of the Church, but really they are just men who received callings that needed to be filled. In my opinion every calling is important, and being an Apostle or a Prophet is fulfilling what was asked of them- they didn't campaign or audition for the job. There are many worthy priesthood holders in the Church that could serve in those positions. I don't mean to belittle the importance of the calling or seem like I have any disrespect for the GA's because I love and honor them. I just don't see them as celebrities.

Speaking of celebrities, David Archuleta came back to Utah yesterday, and it was complete pandemonium wherever he went. It's crazy that a couple months ago he left a normal Murray teenager, and now he comes back and has the Governor greet him and thousands of screaming girls following him around. I hope he wins American Idol because he is so talented and yet so humble. David C. is cocky and not unique (Daughtry has a much better voice and better presence) and Sayesha doesn't have a big enough voice to ever make it as a "diva" ballad singer like Whitney or Mariah, but hey anyone can be successful in pop music if you have the right producer.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ensenada FUN Ride

My dad posted this as a comment, and I thought I'd repost it here for everyone:

"Along with all the other fun activities Amanda has immersed herself in this summer is a "fun ride" she'll be taking part in September 2008 called the "Rosarita-Ensenada Fun Ride". As the name suggests, it starts in a little sleepy fishing town south of Tiajuana, MEX called Rosarita and ends in the well-known cruise stop of Ensenada.

It was created by an American who wanted to do something to help the children of this region of Mexico enjoy biking. Approxiamately 8,000 riders take part in it twice a year--in April and September. Make sure and check out the website... It's for ANYONE who considers themselves in fairly good shape. You pay about $35 dollars and get an entry number and a great T-shirt.

Please talk to Amanda about it and see if any of you would like to join us for this BEAUTIFUL COASTAL/MOUNTAIN ride ending in Ensenada where Vespa rentals, Kayak rentals etc. can be had on the cheap. It lasts just ONE DAY and includes a bus ride back to Rosarita to pick up your vehicles."

My dad and I have always loved to bike together. This ride should be a great experience, and I need to start getting in shape now because 50 miles is no cake walk. Anyone who is interested should definitely come!!! The ride is September 27, and we'll probably spend a couple nights in Mex. before and after.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Striving to be Like Him

I love the March special issue of the Ensign which features a portrait of Christ on the cover. The issue is all about Jesus Christ, including testimonies from General Authorities and from members all over the world. The issue is great to order (for only $1.50) and share with friends and family and potential investigators.

"Becoming a Witness of Christ" is a great article by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Seventy. This one part really touched me while I was reading it this morning:

"The central message of the apostles and prophets in all ages is the need to repent to receive a remission of sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our own repentance bears testimony of Him and the power of His grace to pardon and cleanse us. We need not have achieved perfection for our witness to be valid so long as we are striving to conform our lives to the Savior's standard."

That last line is awesome! It is so easy for us to be hard on ourselves and get upset about every little mistake we make. It doesn't matter if we trip up once or twice or many times as long as we rely on the Atonement and make an effort to get back on track. The key word here is striving. Christ didn't say "I will only forgive you x number of times." He will always forgive you if you take the necessary steps to repentance. In Sunday School today we talked about experiencing a "mighty change of heart." I believe that even after this change of heart life is hard and temptations are ever-present. That's why it's the path that we are on that's important. We should always strive for perfection, but at the same time we have to realize that we will make mistakes and not get so caught up in the mistakes that we loose sight of the big picture.

To me, that's why it's important not to judge people. Everyone makes mistakes and has their own relationship with Heavenly Father. I try not to judge people for what they do or don't choose to do on Sunday or what movies they watch. The little decisions people make are their decisions and it is their journey, not mine. What really matters is if we are trying every day to be closer to the Savior's standard, and also realizing that is a day-by-day process that will continue throughout our lives. I say: check yourself often, see what you can remove from your life and what you're doing that's good, and keep on improving.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Being a Bum

Today I was extremely unproductive. A bum, if you will. I'm not taking classes right now and I'm "on call" at my catering job so the hours are very unpredictable. I had today off and my function tomorrow was canceled so now that day is free, too. I only feel good about spending my time leisurely when I've done something really productive during the day or have worked especially hard during the week. Even if I didn't need to work for the money, I think I'd have a job so I could feel justified in having fun. Don't get me wrong, I love having nothing to do, but too much nothing to do is very unsatisfying.

Even so, today was enjoyable. I learned how to carve board with my friend that I met skiing at Spring Clinic and afterward we went to dinner at Tucci's. I also got a few errands done. I still have to finish an independent study class this summer, so maybe I will get going on that tomorrow. Or maybe I will just learn to enjoy being a bum.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Start of the "Sunday Editions"

From now on I'm going to try to post something of a spiritual nature on Sunday. I seriously heart Sunday; it is hands-down the best day of the week. I love going to church and everything about it: feeling the Spirit, taking the sacrament, increasing my desire to becoming a better person, and associating with wonderful people. I love Sunday dinner with family and friends and the feeling of satiety that only comes after stuffing myself with Grandma Rae's ham and funeral potatoes or thyme chicken. I love having nothing to do but relax and reflect on the beauty of the Gospel and the many blessings in my life. I really get to thinking about all that I've been given. "Count your many blessings, name them one by one...":

1) My family- My mom in particular is amazing. She is the sweetest, most genuine person I've ever met. She will initiate a conversation with anyone and makes everyone around her comfortable. She is the best listener and the person I love to talk to the most. I am also lucky to know everyone in my extended family. Both of my grandmas are wonderful. They are so generous and have been such great examples to me. I could do a whole post on my exceptional family.

A healthy body- Our bodies are so powerful and capable. I'm thankful for a body that can do most anything I ask of it.

Food and Shelter- Not only is food delicious and fun to eat, but it keeps us alive. I have never worried about going hungry and I haven't even had to eat Ramen noodles as a college student. I also have a great apartment that could probably fit five or six families in another part of the world.

4) Loving Heavenly Father- I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that I'm a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and wants me to become as great as He is. This knowledge is priceless.

Endless Opportunities- I can do whatever I want in life. This is America, after all. I can be a lawyer, communications director, CEO, banquet server, or janitor (been there, done that!). I am fortunate enough to go to BYU and I know that the amount of hard work I put into my education will equal what I get out of it.

6) Earth- There is truly beauty all around. In Utah, all you have to do is look east towards the mountains to realize what a wonderful earth we have been given. I'm so grateful to be blessed with such beautiful surroundings.

7) My wonderful friends- You gotta love good friends, and I definitely have some great ones. I'm also grateful for the opportunity and ability to make new friends everywhere I go.

I'm sure there will be more of these "blessings" posts. There is just TOO much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Excited for Camp Walden

Today I secured a job as a summer camp counselor at Camp Walden in Diamond Point, NY. The camp is located on Lake George in the Adirondack mountains. From the pictures online and the DVD I received in the mail, the camp facilities and surrounding area look absolutely amazing. The camp has tons of recreational activities available: swimming, wakeboarding, sailing, kayaking, a water trampoline!, basketball, softball, tennis, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and a zip line, just to name a few.

This seems like the perfect summer job for me. From June 26 through August 15 I will be playing outside with fun kids all day long. I will probably be working with the 1st/2nd grade girls since I have the most experience with this age group from teaching skiing. After speaking to the camp director it sounds like there are a lot of awesome people who work at Walden that I'll get to hang out with on my off-time.

I'm excited for this job because I really love working with kids. Teaching kids can sometimes be challenging, but it is so rewarding to see them grow. For me, working with kids develops characteristics like patience, conscientiousness, creativity, and optimism. I know my patience has improved immensely since teaching kids. I'm looking forward to being a positive role model for the campers and making sure they have an awesome time. Some of my favorite memories from my youth are from summer camp. I will have to post about some as the summer gets closer.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Air time

Group shot @ snowbird (the crew)

This is what I've been up to for the past few weeks. Skiing with friends on a clear day with soft snow-it doesn't get any better!!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Money in the Bank

Today I found out I didn't get the leadership camp job in New York I wanted for this summer. Oh well. Now I have no plans for the months of May-August. My only real requirements are a job that is a 1) Money making opportunity and 2) Outdoorsy enjoyment opportunity. Any ideas?

Here are some things I'm excited for:

1) The $$ from the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 being deposited into my bank account on May 2. I know I will be doing my part and putting it right back into the economy. Every U.S. citizen who files taxes will get one!
2) My classes this semester to be over. One month and counting...
3) Mountain biking season (whenever the snow melts).
4) SUMMER. Especially sandals.
5) Some new makeup, especially eye shadow and lipstick from MAC's Heatherette collection.

Life is so good! The sun is shining, the church is true, and I just bought some healthy and delicious riceworks chips at Costco. Plus, I have been making the best bagel and egg sandwiches for breakfast. Good food in the morning usually equals a pleasant day. Maybe I will post the recipe...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Visitors Allowed

I was serving a small CES luncheon at the Jo yesterday that included Elder Ballard, Elder Nelson, Elder Tingey, Sister Beck, Pres. Samuelson, and the other church school presidents and advisory council members. They were all very nice, and Elder Nelson practiced pronouncing "Wednesday" in Spanish with me and ate some fruit and carrot cake for lunch. But enough with the stalker notes, here's the real dirt.

I couldn't help but overhear as I set up the buffet table that BYU-Hawaii is no longer accepting visiting students. I don't think this has been officially announced because I couldn't find the news anywhere (even Google left me dry), but maybe I'm just out of the loop. I don't know who exactly said it because my back was turned, but one of the brethren said very matter-of-factly, "A visiting student is a surfer who wants to spend six weeks in Hawaii and takes one or two classes so they can tell Mom and Dad it's school." They might be old, but these guys still know what's up!

Students and non-students alike will still flock to the chill capital of the world, Laie, HI, for their summer fun. Any young[ish] person can live in the unkempt and dirty off-campus student housing for a comparable amount to spending a summer in Provo. Don't get me wrong, I loved my house on the beach, but the termites in the counters, cockroaches on the floor, and ants on my face were a bit bothersome. But it's all part of the experience, right?

Oceanfront property- $350/month

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring is Coming!

I'm pretty over the snow and the cold weather. The only activity that allows me to deal with it at all is skiing. I was starting to think winter would last forever because of all the snow Utah's received, but thankfully it's almost mid-March and it appears spring weather is just around the corner. The close proximity of a new season leads to a very important question: what am I going to wear when the sweaters and Uggs are all boxed up?

I am in LOVE with this amazing Charlotte Ronson top. Unfortunately it's a bit steep for my budget- $172 at Urban. But I'm sure I can find an acceptable knock-off amidst Forever 21's hundreds of blouses. The shorts are more affordable at $38, and they come in four cute colors.

I really love this look and it will be the basis of my spring wardrobe- light, airy tops, shorter shorts (because my legs will be looking good after so much running...right?), and big floppy hats. Shoes are a given: Rainbows, of course. And I will be stocking up on fun tees by Volcom and Roxy.

I don't know how I feel about the higher waistlines that are back in style. I really liked the low-rise jeans and it feels weird having material up to your belly button. On the plus side, they are much easier to pair tops with. Hopefully Shade doesn't go out of business due to a decreased demand for long shirts to cover the very tacky mid-drift.

I'm glad skinny jeans are still kickin' because I just started wearing them! I'm not one to immediately embrace trends, especially when it comes to fashion. A lot of things just have to grown on me (music, etc.).

I'm really excited for new sunglasses. I usually let myself buy a pair every summer. Last summer I wore white VonZippers, and they got me loving big glasses. I'm thinking about either a bright blue or green pair this year, or this Roxy pair. I will definitely have to try them on first. You like?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Crazy For Cacao

When I was little I liked everything white. White bread, white rice, white tortillas, and vanilla ice cream were prevalent in my chubby girl diet. Back then chocolate was just too much for my developing taste buds to handle. But now that I'm 'all grown up' I'm a chocolate devotee- one might even say an addict.

I eat chocolate on a regular basis and I don't feel guilty about it. That's because I eat dark chocolate that's full of antioxidants in addition to pure deliciousness. Since I've become accustomed to the rich, deep flavors of dark chocolate, I don't touch white (which doesn't contain real chocolate) and I only eat milk in desperation.

Farmer preparing dried cocoa beans- REUTERS/Daniel LeClair

I read an interesting article about the surge of gourmet chocolate production in Central America that prompted this post. It was really neat to learn that my love of chocolate is reviving farms and communities in the poorest of countries such as Belize and Guatemala. The demand for organic "fair trade" chocolate has sent Central America's cocoa output soaring; it's gone up 40 percent over the last three years (Reuters). I never knew what the term fair trade meant before, but Wikipedia informed me that it's a pledge from companies to pay third-world farmers a fair amount for crops in addition to promoting social and environmental standards.

Cocoa beans in cacao pod- Dagoba website

The best places to find good chocolate are health food stores such as Whole Foods or Wild Oats. When looking for the highest quality chocolate a good rule of thumb is to check the ingredients. If the first ingredient is sugar then move on. I look for cacao or cocoa beans listed first. Cacao pods come from the cacao tree and contain cocoa beans which look like dark almonds. They are chocolate in its most raw form.

My favorite brand of chocolate is Dagoba, especially the infused varieties such as lime or cherry. The company was started in 2001 by a 30-year-old chocolate lover named Frederick Schilling who wanted to create some dang good chocolate and help people out while doing it. I'm sure those farmers in Central America appreciate him! Another surprisingly good choice is Hershey's Cacao Reserve bars available at your neighborhood grocer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Better Than Jamba Juice

Shakes, especially protein shakes, are a delicious and healthy snack. A bag of protein powder (chocolate or vanilla) from Costco ($19.99 for a huuuuge bag) is a must-have in any athlete's well-stocked kitchen. Shakes are great because you can easily get many of the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy, happy body in one easy meal. Plus, they're just plain delicious! Here's a recipe for what I consider to be The Ultimate Shake. I started making this shake to get all the stuff I wanted to eat during the day in one dose, and then I found almost the exact same recipe in a health book, The Circadian Prescription (Baker and Barr) . The book suggests that drinking one of these every morning for three weeks will convince you that their book about the 24-cycle of the body is true gospel. You don't have to read the book, but this shake really is the bomb!

1/3 cup whole milk yogurt (Live & active cultures- nothing better! Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods and you should try to consume it daily)
1/3 cup milk* (I prefer raw, unpasteurized and unhomogenized- but more on that in the next post)
1 tbsp. flax seed oil (a fantastic source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, plus it keeps you regular!)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (most women, especially athletes, don't get enough protein, so load up! plus it adds a sweet taste without added sugar)

Blend, then add:

1 cup frozen mixed berries (again from Costco, $9.99 for a 14 c. serving bag; oh, the antioxidants in berries are so, so good for you!)

*Fruit juice is also delicious instead of milk: orange, cranberry, acai, etc... Make sure it's 100% fruit juice not from concentrate.

I basically never measure this, so these are all approximations. Add some liquid/berries to make the shake your preferred consistency.

I have one of these shakes every day. It's especially good right in the morning. Along with a piece of toast with peanut butter, this is one of the best pre-workout meals- energizing, satisfying, and doesn't make you feel too full. It also works as a post-workout recovery shake as well.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The World of Returns

My poor digital camera took a spin cycle (literally) when I accidentally put it in the washing machine last week. It died a horrible death- RIP Elph.

I went to Costco (aka the happiest place on earth after Disneyland) to buy a new one so I could document 80's dancing with the Snowbird crew. I picked out a cam similar to but beefier than my last and when I got the receipt I noticed some very odd words at the bottom. The fine print states that Costco has a new 90-day return policy for electronics. Say whaaat? Only 90 days? This means I won't be hearing about people returning their electronics after two years for a full refund just to get the latest version. Even if a camera, tv, camcorder, etc. had been through the wash, a house fire, or dropped off a cliff, Costco would still fulfill the return- in cash.

Nordstrom is similarly cracking down on those who take advantage of their previously lenient return policy. You used to be able to bring in whatever you wanted- fully used makeup, old jeans from D.I., even a set of tires- and they would take the junk with open arms and give you cash for it. Now you have to have proof of purchase, be it a receipt or the little bar code they put on each item.

Both places still have great return policies. Some places won't let you return items that are used or opened, but you can eat half a case of frozen Morning Star sausages from Costco and then take it back if you didn't feel like eating the other half. It would be ethically wrong because you did enjoy half the case unashamedly, but thankfully Costco forgives and you could return it nonetheless.

Good return policies help businesses retain customers and therefore increase profits. I ordered some pepper spray off a self-defense website a few weeks ago. I now want to return it for a smaller, less bulky model that can fit on my key chain without looking like a night stick, but the company's "no nonsense" return policy says you have to return the product within 7 days of receiving the item, and you can only return it if you bought the shipping insurance. I'm probably not going to purchase from them again.

Costco, however, will have me as a customer as long as it keeps doing what it's doing. Both the return policy and consistently high-quality products keep me going back for more. I bought some face cream by a funky brand called Borghese over the Oil of Olay because when it is branded "for Kirkland Signature," I know I have nothing to fear.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Taxes. First of all, they stink. The only good thing about them is the return. I am thoroughly enjoying being young and poor and getting almost everything I pay to the fed and state back. Knowing I'll get a return allows me to think of paying taxes during the fiscal year as depositing my money into a savings account. When springtime comes around I get to take the money out spree!

The government is not a simple organization, and navigating the procedures and forms of filing taxes can be very intimidating, especially if you have a multiple incomes and many deductions. Fortunately for multi-millionaires and simple folk alike, there is TurboTax. If you are filing a 1040EZ the service is completely FREE! The site takes you through the tax filing process in an easy, step-by-step manner. If you have your W2 handy, you could be done in 20 minutes. I filed my taxes this way (thanks, Mom) and my refund was deposited in my bank account in about eight days.

If you want to save yourself a lot of time and headache, use Turbotax or one of its competitors. If not you can continue slaving over your paper forms and hopefully your refund check will come 6-8 weeks after your snail mail (hopefully) gets processed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You're Already Saying, "Gimme Gimme More."

Welcome to post numero uno. I've been contemplating starting a blog for a while but, as with most trends, it's taken me a while to add my voice to the 112 million-plus bloggers (and that’s only the number being tracked by the blog search website Technorati) out there in cyberspace. Now that I’ve joined the ranks of Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, and Perez Hilton in posting my thoughts for all the world to read, I’m going to do it right.

As with any good writing, I feel my blog should have a focus. Will I record every single detail that punctuates my enthralling life? No way. But I will write about interesting current events, entertainment, politics, fashion trends, FOOD, and events in my life. You might even get a deep thought or two (I do have those occasionally). The keyword here is interesting, so basically anything that fits in that category is fair game (so much for a 'focus', this is why I'm still taking English classes).

There is much I could say to round up this introductory ditty, but I will simply end with this: bedtime snacks are not just for kids. I have one every night. Some good options include a glass of milk and a graham cracker, a piece of dark chocolate and tea, or yogurt with granola. Only children who don't eat their vegetables at dinner are supposed to go to bed hungry.

Yes, this blog will be intensely educational and informing in addition to being superbly entertaining. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.